|Towns and villages of:|
Population: 4235 (Council statistics, 2002)
Town Centre - Tahmoor
Tahmoor was originally traversed by European settlers as early as 1798 - a party led by John Wilson, although it is probable that he had been here before.
Wilson was a colourful character, ex-convict, who went 'wild' and travelled with the aborigines for some years in the bush, only to return to the colony at Sydney and act as guide for early explorations south of 'The Cowpastures'.
There is no doubt he passed through Tahmoor, on to Bargo and near to the present Mittagong in the Highlands.
It is also probable he knew the (Gundagarra) aboriginal peoples who originally lived in this area, and from whom the town's name today is derived.
The word 'tahmoor' is said to be either the name for the ceremonial mound the aborigines used for some of their ceremonies, or the aboriginal name for the 'bronzewing pigeon' found in these parts.
When a track was cut through the area in the 1820s (the 'great south road'), some land grants were made to settlers to establish farms, but the most prominent feature was a tavern for wayfarers at Myrtle Creek (a few kilometres south of Stonequarry - Picton) known as Lupton's Inn.
The most important landholding was 'Tahmoor Farm', the homestead of which remains to this day - although in private hands.
A village never really grew at Tahmoor. Although a school was established in the 1860s for the children of local farmers, Tahmoor was bypassed when the southern railway was built in 1862 -3 from Picton through Thirlmere to Mittagong, when traffic south mostly ceased.
In the late 19th century it was a farming area producing cattle, horses, poultry, pigs, orchard fruits, and even grapes from vineyards. Timber getting was also an important activity, the timber being taken to Redbank Siding (later Thirlmere) for shipment on the trains.
Known variously as Myrtle Creek, Bargo West, and Cordeaux in the early days of the construction of that dam, Tahmoor really became established when the southern railway deviation passed through it from Picton to Bargo on a new route south.
By 1917 the village was known as Tahmoor, and speculators following the railway offered the first subdivisions for sale in the new town.
Tahmoor grew slowly, and in the 1950s through 1970s as a country town thrived as a stopover for motorists on the main highway south.
When bypassed again in the 1970s by the new freeway to the east, Tahmoor did not go into decline as did other towns.
Instead the opening of a major coal mine just south of the town brought a new industry and prosperity.
Tahmoor today has the largest population, and second largest retail area in the Wollondilly.
Access to rapid transport - the railway and the freeway - means that many of its residents can enjoy the benefits of living in a large country town, yet work in the western suburbs or the city itself.
Tahmoor is well served shops and service industries, has excellent recreation areas, and is a good place for the traveller to rest and refresh on their way to the many sights and attractions of the surrounding area.
Tahmoor Public School (c.1902)